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Canadians express frustration over FBI access to their health records

April 17, 2014
Healthcare Consulting By LW Consulting Inc.

Is your practice respecting the privacy policies that are in place to protect? You might not be, and if so, the evaluation of healthcare consulting firms could be used to develop a strategy that makes more sense and allows you to function correctly in all respects of the law.

Take, for example, the case of Canada's electronic health information, which is being accessed by the FBI. According to the Digital Journal, the practice of Canadian law enforcers to share the mental health records with law enforcement officials from the United States has drawn criticism from both affected citizens and Ontario's Information and Privacy Commission.

What's alarming about this practice is that the patients whose information gets shared seem to be unaware that anything has happened until it is too late, as in the case of a Toronto resident who was barred from taking a plane into the U.S. because she had a record of failed suicide attempts. 

The Toronto Sun quoted Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian's statement on the need for better security when uploading these electronic health records, which she came to after a prolonged investigation, an opinion that has met with some opposition from the Toronto police.

"There was a clear consensus among mental health groups that given the sensitivity of attempted suicide information, and the significant potential for stigmatization, this information should be treated with the greatest caution and care," she said.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that the database which the records were made available to, the Canadian Police Information Centre, is managed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as one representative of the Toronto authorities said.

On either side of the border, regulatory compliance consultants can make sure that the way medical practices conduct themselves is consistent with all sections of the law.